I’ve watched three episodes of the Nickelodeon’s new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles now, and I’ve made a few observations.
–The show is geared toward a younger audience – definitely younger than the 2003 series, at least, though probably about on par with the 1980s cartoon. More on that in a moment.
–There’s something both modern and very weird to me about the way the show is done in 3D CGI, and yet there are little anime-style touches like the “cross-popping veins“, eyes going blank with rage, etc. I suspect it may be as appealing to kids as it is a bit off-putting to an old cranky lawn-defender like me. (I did get used to the CPV on Teen Titans, but it’s weirder in 3D.)
–The way the Turtles move, and their facial expressions, are all well done. There’s a wonderful speed and freedom of movement to the Turtles this time around. But the sometimes the CGI seems a bit low-budget to me, reminiscent of something from the early part of the decade.
–The roundabout manner in which the Kraang robots talk was funny exactly once. Make. It. Stop.
–I have mixed feelings on the show’s character development. It’s been doing a good job with Raph (a character I’ve never cared for) and Donatello, but neglecting Leo and Mikey a bit. But they’ve got time to get there.
–The “remixed” 1980s opening seems like it was done by a marketing committee. Rapping in cartoon intros wasn’t cool in the 1990s and it’s even less cool now. I’d rather get the original track played over the new graphics. Seriously – compare them and tell me which one gets your blood pumping. And get off my lawn.
Since the new show began sending out images and videos, I’d been thinking of it as perhaps the Batman: Brave and the Bold to the 2003 show’s Batman: The Animated Series (with the 1980s cartoon being…I’m not sure what. Maybe the 1960s Batman live-action show?).
But I don’t know if the writing of the new show is up to the quality of BB&TB, which worked in some great tongue-in-cheek humor from the very start. Of course, that show improved as it went on, and perhaps this one will too.
But right now, TMNT 2012 is just not working for me. I hate to be negative, but I find the plots boring. Maybe it’s just that the show is still developing the characters, and it’ll take time before the writers feel comfortable enough that their audience understands the dynamics that they can start getting a bit more creative with the stories.
I don’t think the problem is just that I’m an old grump; I absolutely love Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated, for example. And TMNT’s executive producer, Peter Hastings, was a writer, story editor and producer for Tiny Toons, Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain, so I know he can do work I enjoy.
It could be that the writers are avoiding the urge to write for both parents and kids, focusing entirely on kids instead. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe I’m expecting too much of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
What do you think? Am I completely off the mark on this one?